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PLANS GO HAYWIRE AT STATE ROBOTICS

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Joelynn Petrie

More stories from Joelynn Petrie

SLEEPLESS IN MONTANA
February 11, 2019

PHS Robotics teams make it through state a few problems and lots of smiles

Alan+Merritt+%28left%29+and+Caden+Sherman+prepare+to+snap+each+others+suspenders+during+the+state+competition+in+Casper.+
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PLANS GO HAYWIRE AT STATE ROBOTICS

Alan Merritt (left) and Caden Sherman prepare to snap each others suspenders during the state competition in Casper.

Alan Merritt (left) and Caden Sherman prepare to snap each others suspenders during the state competition in Casper.

Joelynn Petrie

Alan Merritt (left) and Caden Sherman prepare to snap each others suspenders during the state competition in Casper.

Joelynn Petrie

Joelynn Petrie

Alan Merritt (left) and Caden Sherman prepare to snap each others suspenders during the state competition in Casper.

Robotics. Most people think that this is for the smart kids. The tech savvy kids. The kids who are total nerds and hate sports.

This however, is just a mere stereotype. The people who do robotics are much more than that. There are kids who do FFA, cross-country, drama, football, basketball, swimming and much, much more. They don’t always have the highest grades and they aren’t your typical nerds and not totally antisocial (although most are).

Wyoming’s state robotics competition was staged Feb. 23, and the students who participated did not fit the stereotype associated with robotics. There were 28 teams there from Wyoming, Idaho and Montana.

While the day was jam-packed full of working on robots and competing, other events transpired at the competition.

“Only in robotics, where gracious professionalism is at its finest,” this year’s announcer at the Wyoming State FTC Competition said. “Go to a basketball or a football game; you won’t see kids doing the Macarena or the YMCA there.”

Robotics is where the normally shy kids get to burst out of their bubble and show who they really are. In robotics, these kids can form bonds with other kids of the same nature and this creates a large family of nerds.

This leads to them having memories of both the stress but also the fun that Robotics Club presented.

The Powell teams had some ups and downs this competition.

Team 10731 Radioactive had the most drastic change of standing, ending Wyoming State in 24th place and only winning one out of five matches.

“A wheel axle broke in the middle of a match and made it so the wheels weren’t working so we couldn’t drive,” sophomore team member of 10731 Jeremy Estes said. “And then for some reason, the driving system was sped up which then made the bot harder to drive.”

Estes added: “And then even before our competition we lost our marker, which is our main thing, and since we lost it, it wasn’t very good.”

The team uses the marker to score extra points during autonomous mode by claiming the depot area. Since they did not have that, the team lost 15 points.

“Overall, I have to say the most frustrating part about it was that we could’ve done a lot better if our robot just didn’t keep on failing time after time,” Estes said.

Team 10541 RoboPanthers had also had technical difficulties with their robot.

During one of their matches their robot was made useless by getting stuck on the lander and scored zero points that round. On the other hand, they were able to get a major mechanical component working.

“Our big arm that got into the crater,” sophomore team member 10541 Daniel Grotefend said.

However, due to poor partnering and bad luck with technical components, 10541 won one match out of five and ended the competition in 25th place.

Squiggle Splat Bang, team 3188, made a recovery from past competitions by winning three out of five matches, ending the competition in 9th place and being picked for the Fourth Alliance. They were partnered with teams 15652 and 5762 (one of Cody’s teams).

While they may have lost both of the semifinal rounds, they still came close to beating one of the best teams there.

“Our final match when the robot worked really well and we were really close to beating one of the best teams there,” senior team captain of 3188 and President of the Robotics Club Alan Merritt said.

So despite having lost the round, 3188 still had a good time.

Joelynn Petrie
Team 3188’s robot

“All of the mechanical systems worked really well, we didn’t have any major things break or go wrong,” Merritt said. “So all of our hard work was kinda rewarding.”

Despite everything being in their favor, they still had some technical issues which caused them to lose two rounds.

“Little errors that caused the whole robot to stop working; mostly disconnection problems, wires would sometimes wiggle loose and it would stop the entire robot,” Merritt said.

And similar to 10731, they had some things go wrong even before the matches started.

“Yes, actually the day before a very important part of our robot got destroyed catastrophically and fortunately my dad was coming the next day and we 3D printed a replacement overnight and he brought it up to us the next morning,” Merritt said.

They were able to get their robot repaired before their first match but actually ended up going to judge’s speeches with their robot halfway taken apart. This ended up going in their favor since they can show the judges the guts of their robot’s mechanisms.

This lead to them taking home the 1st place Design Award.

Team 6437, The Mad Hatters, also did well this competition, winning three out of five matches and placing 12th.

“Nothing broke too badly,” sophomore team member Ethan Petrie said.

The team lost two of their matches due to low batteries and technical difficulties with the robot.

“When we thought we had some time to spare [but] then it was the next match right after that and we were like ‘oh crap,’” Petrie said.

On top of that, their wheels also continued to give the team fits.

“Tires. They kept on not wanting to support the weight; we needed to fill them up with foam or something hard,” Petrie said.

Despite the 6437 not having as sleek of a robot as 3188, they won the 3rd place Design Award.

Overall, Powell High School Robotics ended the season well, even after having continuous difficulties. They learned from their mistakes and most are looking to come back next year.

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2 Comments

2 Responses to “PLANS GO HAYWIRE AT STATE ROBOTICS”

  1. Brandon Preator on March 7th, 2019 3:20 pm

    You know what they say….the best laid plans of mice and men…..But great season robotics! I’m sure you all learned a lot…

  2. Caden Sherman on March 13th, 2019 11:15 am

    The love of being in a after school club/sport really pushes you to do more while keeping up with normal school assignment. love the story and the picture with the suspenders.

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PLANS GO HAYWIRE AT STATE ROBOTICS